June 18 Speaker Series: Weed Warrior and Tom Sawyer on Healing Routes Home

Dave Self, Botanist and Conservation EcologistAbstract: The title encapsulates many lessons about human relationships with invasive and other plants that I’ve culled from many years of work and volunteering as a botanist and ecologist in parks, preserves, and restoration sites – plus some involving folks visiting such areas to learn about nature and/or to help with conservation work. I’ll unfold the title a tiny bit here… At the talk we’ll explore the stories and meanings behind these bits, and I’ll send you home with a few more phrases I hope you’ll find thought provoking, hopeful, and helpful as you walk your own home places.

  • Weed Warriors leave battlefields with wounds, not habitats healed (and wars are expensive).
  • Warrior, Healing Routes are meant to evoke Achilles, Achillea and herbs needed to heal a site.
  • Warrior, Routes Home: Odysseus journeying home and the long exile of ‘culture from nature’ Tom got a fence ‘painted’, friends got a dream for trinkets (invasive salad, savory stewardship).
  • Healing Routes Home – paths to tend, seed, plant, gather, cook, share food, tea n gratitude.

Bio: Dave Self has worked as Botanist and Conservation Ecologist since he was 20 years old with organizations including: UC Santa Cruz, CalTrans, CSU Sonoma, the Nature Conservancy in California, Espey-Huston for PG&E, the National Park Service at Point Reyes and in DC, the Nature Conservancy in Florida, Zentner & Zentner (a habitat restoration firm of the Bay and Sacramento regions), American River College, and Audubon Canyon Ranch, among others.

Invasive plant work of Dave’s included: a 1983 inventory for Point Reyes National Seashore, with ranking and proposed management for over 200 non-native plant species; and field research from 1984 to 1987 focused on control of four invasive plant species in National Park holdings around DC and in adjacent states. He was also involved in discussions leading to the founding of the California Invasive Plant Council in 1992.

In 1998, following threads from childhood and his MA work, Dave started exploring the weave of “culture with nature” thru the seasons, as represented by plants in a one-acre study site, with map-data viewable by life-form, seasons of different uses, and many other layering. This led to presentations at restoration conferences, mapping of several other sites, and to many delightful ‘gourmet’ restoration workshops, stewardship and ‘craft’ workshops and other ‘re-weavings’ – most with his late wife Susan Maxwell, who was a naturalist and co-director of the Living Maidu program for Sacramento County Parks.

Zoom link to this presentation: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81117303891